I know some of us have our own Book of Shadows. Some of us have been thinking of starting one and just aren't sure how, and some of you are reading this thread and thinking to yourself 'What the hell are you talking about, kijani?' That said, I wanted to start this thread to explain not only the purpose behind a Book of Shadows, but also to offer you some tips, tricks, and crafty ideas for creating your very own, should you want to do so.
((Other mods, please excuse the double posts. I'm trying to post this in pieces so that it's not one giant block of text.))
What is a Book of Shadows?
This question has a different answer depending upon who you ask. If you've been around PF for a while, you've probably heard the saying 'Ask five Pagans a question and you get six answers'. In truth, a Book of Shadows really can be many different things for different people. I'm going to explain some of the uses in this post to clear a few of those questions up.
A Reference Guide
A Book of Shadows is often used as a reference guide. In fact, when many of you think of a Book of Shadows, this is probably the sort of thing you imagine. Books of Shadows can hold correspondence tables, spells and rituals, divination tables and meanings, etc. This sort of thing is very personalized, just like every book should be. Keep in mind, your practices and rituals are not going to be the same as someone else's, so your book will differ as well. Maybe something that means one thing to your friend will mean something different to you. Write it down. If you think it's important, write it down. If you don't want to forget it, write it down. If you think that you will use it again, DEFINITELY write it down. Keep in mind as well that this is your own personal book. It is YOUR reference, so you can be as concise or as detailed when you write things down as possible.
Not just any old journal. Some people who use their Book of Shadows as a journal do so with a specific thing in mind. This is a less organized option than the first one, and some people will say much more personal. It's up to you how you write your entries. You can use it to keep track of strange dreams and what you think they mean, personal tarot readings. If you went with an option like this, it's likely that you're less concerned with correspondence tables and formulas for your rituals, and maybe more concerned with how these turned out, what it meant to you that day etc.
With our powers combined....
Some people choose to combine the options of organization and personalization and use both. I personally like to do this, because I am the type of person that wants not only to have those tables and references for myself, but I also want to have record of 'how well did this work that day as opposed to this', 'what did I think -this- meant', 'how did I manage that, or how can I use A to help be with B'....and other such things. You can do exactly that and still have organization to it as well. Keep your tables and written out spells and rituals in the front, and your 'journal' portion in the back, for example. Do it however you want really, because in the end, it is your own personal guide anyway. You want to personalize it to make it as easy for you to use as possible.